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CD Review: Andrew Jackson Jihad

Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011 11:09

Andrew Jackson Jihad

Secret Service PR

Andrew Jackson Jihad

Andrew Jackson Jihad

Knife Man

(Asian Man)

Grade: A


Butter your toast with vaseline the morning of September 20, because you're gonna have a lot to swallow when Andrew Jackson Jihad comes at you with Knife Man – 16 tracks that relentlessly knead at those sore spots in society: racial and gender inequalities, god and the devil, divorce, homelessness and conspicuous consumerism.

Yep, everything ugly and beautiful and, more importantly, true about the world exposes itself through the Phoenix-based duo's fourth full-length release with imagery that streaks from one ear and out the other leaving muddy footprints in the back of one's mind. Singer Sean Bonnette brings up the purpose of love songs and the importance of being yourself, too (The lyric, "It's harder to be yourself than anybody else," appears in both "Distance" and "Big Bird.").

But, for the most part, this album's a four-course meal of reality. So, open up your mouth and your eyes, cause here comes KnifeMan.

"Back Pack," "No One," "Free Bird" and "Big Bird" are the album's the strongest musical and lyrical efforts and "People II 2: Still Peoplin'" is a nice reminder about the constant fall to rock bottom and how there's always someone lower. 

There's no shortage of sardonic lyrics either, "The things that I have seen are turning me into a shitty human being," Bonnette sings in "Fucc the Devil." That's a belief that's hard to believe, coming from a recent ASU graduate in social work, and even more so in the sad verses of "No One": "This might not be nice to say, but I'll say it anyway/When you're a no one, you are no one/And it takes no one to know one" or "I used to work at the people pound/all these no ones collect together just like a human lost and found/if they let them all be someones there wouldn't be enough to go around/It's better for us all if they're no ones." 

Then, there's the unruly side of AJJ that comes through in the punk-driven "Hate, Rain On Me": "I wish I had a bullet big enough to fucking kill the sun/I'm sick of songs about the summer/And I hate everyone." Of course, there's also the pseudo cover song, "Zombie by the Cranberries by Andrew Jackson Jihad," which isn't a cover nor is it a parody. It's just … what it is. Much like this album.

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